RECIPE: CLASSIC SOUTHERN GULF SHRIMP AND GRITS

CLASSIC SOUTHERN SHRIMP AND GRITS

Serves 4

Classic Southern Shrimp and Grits Martie Duncan

INGREDIENTS

For the Grits

3 cups 2% milk

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup stone-ground grits

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish

 For the Shrimp

24 large fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined with the tails left on, save the shells to create a shrimp stock

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved

3 bay leaves

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper or to taste

Juice from 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 Directions:

For the grits: In a medium saucepan, bring the water and milk for the grits to a gentle boil. Whisk in the grits. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and whisk the grits often to prevent sticking. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the grits are soft and to a consistency you like. When the grits have thickened, stir in the cheese and butter and put a lid on the pot.

For the Shrimp: Add all the shrimp peel to a pot and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Allow to cool. Strain the shells and reserve the stock.

Towards the end of the cooking time for the grits, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook about a minute.

Stir in the tomatoes with half their juice; add the bay leaves and cayenne and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Return the heat under the tomatoes to medium high and add1/2 cup of the reserved shrimp stock and a bit more of the tomato juice, if desired. Once it is bubbling, add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, approximately 5-6 minutes.

Remove the shrimp to a plate. Stir in the lemon juice into sauce. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the final tablespoon butter and stir. Remove from heat and add the parsley. Return the shrimp to the sauce.

To serve, place a heaping spoonful of grits on each plate. Top with the shrimp and sauce. Garnish with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

SIMPLE SUPPERS: LEMON HERB SHRIMP OVER PASTA

When I get off work on a Friday afternoon when the weather is nice, I cannot wait to get the weekend started. I typically don't feel like making complicated food... I want it to be fast, easy and delicious. This dish is so simple to whip up for a couple or a couple dozen guests. The key is to use fresh herbs and the best shrimp you can find. For me, that is Alabama Gulf shrimp... I'm lucky to have easy access to it. Frozen shrimp will work if that is what you can get but oh my, what a difference you will taste if you use fresh shrimp. Make this for supper and serve it with some toasty bread and a nice chilled glass of white wine and you've got a good start on a relaxing weekend.

Simple Suppers Lemon Herb Shrimp over Pasta

LEMON HERB SHRIMP OVER PASTA

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 pound fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on

1 cup seafood stock (I make my own using the shrimp shells but you can use the boxed kind)

1/2 cup white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)

1 lemon, sliced

 1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Hot cooked angel hair or pasta of your choice... I use angel hair because it only takes a few minutes to cook.

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta per package directions to al dente. Set aside.

In a large skillet or saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once it is hot, add the smashed cloves of garlic and saute. Tilt the pan to make sure the oil covers the garlic and cook it for 2 minutes to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and crush them with your hand into the pan, squeezing all the juice from them. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and oregano. Break the tomatoes into small pieces and cook for one minute. Add the wine and the stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Check the seasoning. You may need to add a bit more salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and allow them to cook for 2 minutes. Squeeze the lemon halves over the shrimp and drop both halves into the pan.  Flip the shrimp and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side or just until the shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat. Add the butter. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the shrimp and sauce. Add the parsley and some Parmesan, if desired.

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EASY ENTERTAINING: MAKE SEAFOOD CEVICHE

Ceviche is a seafood staple in coastal regions of Spanish or Latin American countries. Refreshing and delicious, it has recently become popular in American restaurants. Because ceviche is healthy, simple and really flavorful, it will become a go-to when you are having friends over; it's perfect for margaritas after work or a great make ahead starter to kick off burger night with the neighbors. Best of all, ceviche is simple, unique, and super-fast! Use a firm white fish that will hold its shape. Cut into uniform size pieces so the fish cooks evenly in the marinade.

SIMPLE SEAFOOD CEVICHE

INGREDIENTS

1 pound red snapper or other fish cut into 1/4 inch cubes

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 red onion, diced

1 small tomato, diced very small

1/2 cup red pepper, diced very small

1/2 cup yellow pepper, diced very small

1 jalapeno pepper, stems/seeds removed, diced very fine

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced into a paste or grated with a microplane or grater

Pinch of cumin

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped 

DIRECTIONS

In a large zip top bag, add the fish with enough lime juice to cover. Marinate for 20 minutes.

Wisk the remaining ingredients except the cilantro together in a bowl along with 1/4 cup of the lime juice from the marinade. Remove the fish from the marinade and add to the mixture, stirring gently to combine. Chill completely, at least one hour. Stir in the cilantro just before serving.

Serve in a chilled glass with wedges of lemon or lime, and tortilla chips.

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